We’re a quarter of the way through the fantasy football season, including the playoffs, so it seems like a good time for a little reflection. There have been several surprises through four weeks, some good (Lamar Jackson being fantasy’s top scorer), some bad (several star receivers off to slow starts). Our analysts reveal their biggest draft gaffes one month into the season.
O.J. Howard hasn’t been a thing
It all seemed so lovely: Pedigree player entering Year 3, respected offensive coach, narrow passing tree. But apparently, Tampa Bay’s narrow passing tree doesn’t include O.J. Howard. He’s currently 27th in tight end targets and 28th in tight end fantasy points. We can’t blame this all on Jameis Winston, because Chris Godwin looks like a league-winning pick and Mike Evans is just fine.
Maybe Howard is too good of a blocker for his own good. Perhaps Bruce Arians isn’t as flexible a head coach as I thought — I scoffed when others mentioned his history of generally ignoring tight ends. Maybe OC Byron Leftwich hasn’t figured out Howard yet. Howard’s efficiency stats still look good, but the point column does not.
I’m also going to take some crow for drafting D.J. Moore so aggressively; I misjudged the summer warning signs with Cam Newton. Kyle Allen isn’t a flat tire as the backup, but he’s obviously not Newton. I took some reactive Newton shares when the price got dirt cheap (at least you can always pivot easily at QB), but Moore was someone I drafted proactively. I don’t expect this to be a season-ruining pick by any means, but I’m prepared to take a loss on Moore now. -Scott Pianowski
Still waiting on Will Fuller to break out
I ended up drafting a ton of Will Fuller. That has not worked out so far. It looked like a year when Deshaun Watson would take another step and be the tide that raised the many boats in this offense. Nope. The stacked nature of this receiver corps compounded with some of the structural issues in the offense have made it so that these guys are just starting to cancel each other out. Fuller has been left out in the cold thus far, averaging fewer than six targets per game. The air yards are there, as Fuller ranks 12th on the season and he has an average depth of target north of 17. Yet, the conversion rate just isn’t there. He has yet to clear 70 yards in any game.
Fuller will have some boom games but at this stand now, they’ll be tough to predict. Perhaps these first four weeks are just a blip because they look nothing like Fuller’s early work with Watson. However, as things stand now, it just looks like a busted call. -Matt Harmon
David Montgomery stuck in neutral
Terrelle Pryor, Royce Freeman, Montee Ball — Montgomery is the latest to suffer from the Big Noise Kiss of Death. The rookie, who I pegged to toe the RB1 line in 12-leagues in his inaugural campaign, has left yours truly destitute and despondent. Whether you blame Matt Nagy's shenanigans or Chicago's wooden offensive line (No. 26 in run-blocking per PFF), he's failed miserably to live up to my mammoth expectations, ranking RB26 in Yahoo leagues. Woe is definitely me.
However, there is a silver lining. Monty has seen a steady increase in snap share and workload since Week 1. Still, unless the meat hounds up front start displacing dudes, additional tepid performances should be expected. -Brad Evans
Donte Moncrief ain’t it ... but Diontae Johnson might be
I've made some mistakes in my life, but the biggest has been believing Donte Moncrief could make a play. To be fair, he didn’t just fool me but managed to hoodwink the entire Steelers’ coaching staff as well. After letting the starting gig quite literally slip through his fingers, Moncrief was a healthy scratch in Week 3 … which paved the way for Diontae Johnson.
In Week 3, the third-round pick played 79 percent of the team’s snaps while hauling in three of six targets for 52 yards and a score while facing coverage courtesy of Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett. Johnson started again in Week 4, capitalizing on a more favorable matchup vs. Cincy. Converting all six of his looks, the rookie hung 77 yards and a TD on the Bengals secondary. With Mason Rudolph under center, Johnson’s ceiling is certainly lowered, but as bye weeks increase and injuries mount, he remains a matchup-dependent flex play who’s currently available in 70% of leagues. -Liz Loza
Whiffing on Vikings across the board
I'd like a re-do on pretty much everything related to the Vikings, please. Wherever I ranked Dalvin Cook, it wasn't high enough. If we were to re-draft a fantasy league from scratch right now, Cook is going off the board in the first half of Round 1. He opened his season with three straight 100-yard efforts, then delivered 70 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Bears. Cook might just be a league-winner.
Kirk Cousins and the Vikes' passing game, on the other hand, have been disastrously useless. We knew entering the season that Mike Zimmer and Kevin Stefanski were hoping to go run-heavy, but this team's passing attack is simply broken. Fun fact: Cousins has the highest time-to-throw in the NFL right now according to Pro Football Focus (2.9 seconds), but one of the lowest deep-attempt rates (10.1%). That's just a terrible combo. -Andy Behrens
What do you wish you could have a draft do-over on? Share your whiffs in the comments section.